The ‘Year of Firsts’ in this New Year by Jessica Roesener

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“I sit here in the new morning glow of 2020. A new year, a new decade, a new chance to start again (or so they say). I am once again reflecting on the year that was 2019. For all intents and purposes 2019 will go down as by far the worst year of my life, thus far. The loss of my mom and these last six months are immeasurable when it comes to grief, sadness, pain, loss, loneliness, and the questioning of everything I thought I ever knew.

I push on, I look deeper, try to find things in 2019 that made me happy, the ones worth remembering and treasuring. It’s kind of ironic that the best and worst moments of my year revolve around the same person. A person that has been there through it all. To say I am happy to be done with 2019 would be an understatement. But to say I’m fully happy to move into 2020…I am not so sure.

In 2020 there are no more memories of you, good or bad. It becomes the first year without you in it. It becomes the first year I go it alone, so to speak. It is a place so unfamiliar it’s like walking through a door to the rest of my life, but a life I never envisioned for myself. The unknown is scary and yet full of potential. But the idea that you won’t be there to share it with me makes me so sad.

I never really put much stock in the New Year’s traditions or symbolism, it was just another day. But this year, it takes on a whole new meaning. It’s almost like another line has been drawn in my sand: 2019, the year with you; 2020, the year that starts the rest of my life without you.
Love you always, miss you forever, never far from my heart or my mind.
Love your daughter”

This was my New Year’s Day post and as eloquently as I could describe how I was feeling about the New Year.  I think a lot of us go through those days, especially the first year.

I mean that’s what they call it right?  The “Year of Firsts.”

It’s the first holidays, birthdays, anniversaries without our loved one. These are the firsts we see coming. We prepare, plan, and ponder over them. We know when they are and we know they will be tough. We usually spend so much time prior to those expected firsts that the anticipation of the event is actually worse than the day itself.

I never, in a million years, would have thought New Year’s would be on my list of year of firsts. It was never really a holiday that my mom and I put much stock in, not like Christmas morning or Mother’s Day or our birthdays. But this first New Year’s Day without her may have been the most difficult first for me so far.

While I have found that all the “firsts” are painful and take on different meanings for each survivor. I find the ones you don’t see coming, the ones you can’t plan or prepare for, are the ones that can take you down the hardest. For me, this year, that was New Year’s Day. Does that mean it was the same for you? Maybe so, but probably not.  Unexpected firsts are just that, they are unexpected. They are the ones we don’t see coming. They hit us out of the blue.

We, as humans, always seem do better when we can see what’s coming and plan as best we can for a situation. The expected firsts for me are like being on an open road and seeing a car in your lane way up ahead. You have time to plan and act accordingly. You can act to avoid a collision.  Yeah you may run off the road and mess up your car a little, but you are only a little banged up. Imagine, though, If you take that same road and add a 45 degree turn in it. You have no idea what’s around the bend until it’s upon you and it’s too late to plan or act accordingly. You would hit it head on without any warning. The damage is much worse and lasts longer. Your car may even be totaled. Had you seen it coming it may not have been as bad, but because you didn’t, it was worse. Those are the unexpected firsts, the ones in your blind spot that you never even think of when making that list of firsts.

I don’t write this to scare you or bring you down. Just the opposite, in fact. I write this in hopes of helping you recognize there will be firsts of all kinds. Ones you see coming and ones you don’t. Ones that will be hard, ones that will be harder still, and ones that may not be as bad as you anticipate. But just having the knowledge that these firsts happen, and they happen to us all hopefully gives you comfort that you are not alone. You can and will get through even the worst of the worst firsts. Don’t give up, keep pushing through, know that there will be setbacks and successes along this first year. All of this is normal and we all go through it. You are not alone.

The initial post originally appeared on Alliance of Hope.

7 Responses

  1. Jan Bassier
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Jessica – I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. It does help to be aware of those “firsts”, yet you are right – some still catch us by surprise.
    Your self-awareness will help you as you go through this year. Take care ~

    • Jessica
      | Reply

      Absolutely, those firsts are hard. Some harder than others.

  2. Kristene Elmore
    | Reply

    Great photo of you and your Mom, may she rest in peace.
    Thank you for sharing your writing.
    Kristene Elmore
    Brighton, Colorado

    • Jessica
      | Reply

      Thank you so much!

  3. Debbie
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing! Your words are what I am feeling about 2019 being my worst year ever so far in my life. Moving into 2020 with higher hopes for a better year.
    Bless you

    • Jessica
      | Reply

      To a better 2020! Amen to that!

  4. Melanie
    | Reply

    Thank you Jessica, you wrote it perfectly, all the days leading up to the event tend to be the worst, at least that’s how I’m feeling. Often worse than the actual day itself. I entered this year feeling the same as you and I appreciate the courage it took to write this and your ability to help others like myself through your words. Love that beautiful picture of you two.

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